One of the little girls in my church was Linda McClurkin. She had two brothers. One was Sammie. Sammie was in my class. I remember how much I loved being asked to the McClurkin’s house to spend Sunday afternoons! I thought Sammie was just about the cutest boy I’d ever seen. He had real curly brown hair. Sammie was about the first boy ever to be nice to me. We were kind of unofficial boyfriend and girlfriend for a couple of years. In those days it was different. He’d look at me and smile and that was all there was to it. Or I’d hear from Billy that Sammie told Jerry he thought I was cute. That would last for a couple of weeks until I’d hear now Sammie thought Sheila or Patricia was cute. I’d be devastated for a few days until I heard he’d said I was cute again and I was once again his first choice.
I’d go home with the McClurkins to spend the day on their dairy. They rented the house and Mr. McClurkin worked with the cows. I remember going to barn to play in the hay bales with Linda and Sammie. We’d find lost toys in forts on top the hay, we’d dive into open bales and swing from ropes dropping into the prickly soft cushion beneath. I remember finding new baby kittens in “hay holes.”
It wasn’t always easy getting to the barn. In dry weather it was okay. We could always find a path between the “plops.” I remember one exceptionally wet spell. The manure was about up to our knees in the pen. The only way to the barn was to take off our shoes and socks, roll up our pant legs, and walk in. It was really gross. When we made it to the barn, we played a long time before we had to repeat the process to get back to the house.
As we'd make our way through the manure sometimes our feet would get stuck. When we'd pull them out of the sludge we would splash manure on each other. The first splash would be an accident but the manure-splashing-payback fight would be on purpose! I remember Mrs. McClurkin laughing at us when we got to the back porch. She handed us a mirror to see ourselves.
We had seen one another get covered with muck over the hours we had played and it seemed OK but when we each took a turn looking at ourselves we began to howl with laughter. We were covered with manure, the whites of our eyes showed like flashlights and when we smiled hay was not the only thing stuck in our teeth! Mrs. McClurkin raised the question as to why we put our socks and shoes on when we got to the barn, took them off to tramp out and put them on again before we came to the house. I remember Sammie saying because the manure was soft we didn’t mind having them off but the hay was prickly so we put them on in the barn. It made sense to take them off to walk through the manure the second time and there were stickers between the corral and the back door so of course we put them back on.All of our cloths, including our shoes, went into the washer. Mrs. McClurkin hosed us off outside and Linda and I went to bathe while Sammie waited outside for his turn.